Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What if you are Wrong?

Do you carry a memory of past hurts and disappointments? Is there someone you need to forgive? Forgiveness is about releasing your need for revenge. Forgiveness is about freeing yourself. Forgiveness is NOT about sanctioning the behavior of the offender.

Surely all of us have been harmed or disappointed by another. The key is what you DO with those feelings of pain and disappointments. Do you hold on to the memory, believing by doing so you are insuring that the person responsible is held accountable? I have heard many spiritual teachers describe this type of behavior: “Taking poison and expecting someone else to get sick.”

Few things are more poisonous than holding on to past hurts. It impedes your progress on the journey. It as if you shackle your feet with cement blocks and then attempt to run. Clearly, there is a better method of taking the journey.

Iyanla Vanzant describes the Law of Forgiveness in her book, Acts of Faith, as: “Infusing the mind with natural healthy ideas that take away the darkness and bring in the light.”

When you bring in the light, you will find peace and happiness. When you hold on to hurts, you may certainly feel RIGHT and JUST, but you rarely feel peaceful or happy. I pose to you the question popularized by Dr. Phil, “Would you rather be right or happy?”

Still not convinced?

Consider these questions: What if you are wrong? What if the reasons why you think, the person acted in the way that you, are all wrong? What if it did not even happen the way you remembered it? What if the person’s motivations were different from what you thought they were?

I can imagine you may not want to explore these questions. You may even have feelings of anger at the mere suggestions these questions pose. Let me give you an example from my own life of what came up for me when I allowed myself to explore these questions.

For years I resented my father for not keeping his word with me. I can remember sitting and waiting for him for hours to take me somewhere only to find out he made other plans, usually with someone else, and that someone else was usually a woman.

From that experience I began to believe that all men (not just my father) lacked integrity, were unreliable and unfaithful. I subsequently found that to be true in my relationships with men (surprise, surprise.) I would recount this story over and over again. That story was my proof that men were unreliable.

When I dug deeper and began to explore this story from the perspective of what if I am wrong? I discovered that my dad might tell this story differently.

First of all, he would say that he likely never made a firm commitment to do what I asked. And that would be true. He often replied to my request by saying, “We’ll see.”

Secondly, my father always believed I could take care of myself. He thought I always demonstrated that I was capable, which is also true. I always had a contingency plan. If he did not come through, I had a back up plan ready to be executed.

So, my father’s story goes something like this, “My daughter made requests of me that I sometimes could not honor but she was OK with it because she always had other options.”

The reason he may think I was OK with his behavior is because I NEVER told him otherwise. My reasoning for not letting him know I was hurt or disappointed was that I did not want him to know he had the power to injury me.

So you see, it just like my Pop-Pop always told me, “There are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth.”

So I ask you, “What if you are wrong?”

Excerpt from my book, Journey to Purpose: Simple Guide to Discovering Your Life Purpose ©2007 T. Dorsey.


Anonymous said...

I read your writings with great interest, as I always do. You know some people take comfort in not forgiving real or imagined wrongs. And then there is the ongoing resentments. The ones that will break up a friendship or a relationship. What if there is someone in your life who is just a certain way, they have been this way as long as you have known them (In some cases all your and/or their life)If you speak out they will 1. leave you 2. Stop speaking to you 3. Ask you why you waited so long to speak up and resent it. Are you dishonest or a coward not to speak up? Maybe it is a sister or a child and you need them in your life? I hope you have an answer for me, one that I can use without loosinga love one,

Karima said...

hmmmmm.....good question.....
recently, i was the one who betrayed a trust.....i did a wrong thing for the right reasons.....thought i have not used this as an excuse.....there was never any malicious intent....i admitted my wrongdoing and i am making amends....i apologized but i did not ask to be forgiven....should i have asked for that?...i'm not sure....the offended person is no longer angry but our relationship has changed....he may never trsut me again....he says he is no longer angry...he says he is having trouble with forgiveness....i understand but wonder if he understands WHY i did what i did.....i don't think that he does....time will tell how this works out.....i have turned this situation over to the UNIVERSE....we are civil, cordial, polite....the romance is gone and in a strange way, i am happy....

T. Dorsey said...


In the end, you gave it over to the Universe and you feel good. What more can be said or done accept to hold the other in prayer. That prayer may include him coming to a place a peace with what you did. That prayer might be that he not hold on to the hurt.

Thanks for your always insightful comment.